An open-plan flat is a dwelling with no internal walls at the commissioning stage. In the past it was possible to build flats without partition walls only in block-frame houses, but recently technology has made it possible to build panel houses with such layouts as well.

The fashion for open floor plans once started with studio flats. Developers, on the one hand, guided by the situation on the market, and on the other hand, in an effort to save money, began to deliver flats not only without finishing, but also without internal partitioning. This was presented as an absolute advantage, because the owner of the apartment could, as they say, demonstrate their imagination to the maximum and combine the kitchen with the dining room, avoid a dark and long corridor, arrange a bedroom in the centre of a huge hall, and so on.

In practice, however, the situation is often different. Future flat owners with an «open plan» should be aware of some restrictions. For example, despite the absence of walls, they will still not be able to swap the kitchen and children’s room, or put a cloakroom in the bathroom and a gym in the toilet. All the «wet» areas need to remain in their places, and all the radical changes will then have to be long and hard to legalise, bringing piles of documents to the appropriate authorities. In the end, it turns out that the walls in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet will still need to be built. The new owner will have to do it at his own expense, not at the expense of the developer, who skillfully sold clients an «open floor plan».

One more detail: if you buy 100 square metres of living space, once you have redesigned and built walls (you will probably want to have a bedroom or children’s room), your flat will become a few square metres smaller.

Among the advantages of open-plan design is that you won’t have to break down «unnecessary» walls, which means a lot less loud and dusty work than if you were to demolish a partition in a conventional house.

In addition, in flats without walls, you can create exactly what you like. Unusual designs with striking details are exactly the kind of flats with a free plan.